After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it. But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her.
Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t. But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister. As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.
Bubby: Love. Love love love love love. This was not always an easy story to read, as it deals with all sorts of uncomfortable life garbage like cancer, dementia, infidelity, drug addiction, and abusive relationships. But none of those elements are the real story. What’s real here is the connections between these family members and the family next door. I shed tears reading this book. I got SO ANGRY reading this book. I sighed the happy romance sigh during this book. I mean, it’s all there, and it’s so powerfully written.
Sissy: I agree. The Things We Knew made me experience the whole gamut of emotions but I loved it because the storytelling is so exquisite. Author Catherine West puts me in mind of Kate Norton, in the way that they both tell a complex tale woven with secrets, broken and new-found relationships and time spanning events. Lynette, the main character, is so beautifully drawn. She is strong and talented and yet so vulnerable and incomplete. I felt like if I had to go through what she did, I would probably be in the loony bin. She certainly will have to go to therapy in the time period after the book ends, I would imagine! But don’t worry – there is much happiness to celebrate eventually.
Bubby: I feel like there’s every possible romantic relationship angle going on in The Things We Knew – happily married, hook-ups, divorces, accidentally pregnant, reconciled lovers, old flames, and at the end, many firmly committed happily ever afters. The romances just made me happy (at the end when everyone quit being stupid) and all gooey inside, just like they are supposed to. And the setting on a large family estate in Nantucket really drew me in. Perhaps it’s because we moved house a lot and my parents left my childhood home area when they retired, but the concept of a beloved family home that people will fight to keep and stay in has always intrigued me. Maybe that’s how my house (even though it’s definitely not a large family estate in Nantucket) will be years from now. Who knows?
Sissy: I do hope you get your deep roots family home that you so desire, Bubby. Just keep an old lady suite and a nurse on site for me in your future plans! Now back to this completely engaging, gorgeous story. The romances, particularly Lynette’s, are definitely worth the anguish you have to go through to finally get to them. And I would love to catch a glimpse of one of Lynette’s paintings so I could feel what others feel when they see them.
Bubby: Oh! The paintings sounded beautiful. Heck, entire book was beautiful! Catherine West is a new author to me, but I guarantee I’ll be reading more from her.
Sissy: Same for me! So glad we discovered her and this wonderful book. The Things We Knew is packed so full of storytelling, we couldn’t possibly impart to you the half of it. You must get it right now and read it yourself!
Click HERE to buy The Things We Knew by Catherine West